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NHGRI selects sequencing centers

BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 7, 2003 -The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) today announced the selection of five centers to carry out a new generation of large-scale sequencing projects designed to maximize the promise of the Human Genome Project and dramatically expand our understanding of human health and disease.

"The historic effort to produce a reference sequence of the human genome was successfully completed in April 2003. But our work is far from over. There remains a compelling need to sequence the genomes of many more organisms," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "The ability to compare the genomic sequences of different species has opened a powerful new window into how our own genome functions.

"Given the power of such comparisons, there is a growing hunger among biologists and medical researchers for free and publicly available sequence data on a wide variety of organisms. Our sequencing centers will feed that hunger. And the dramatic decrease in the costs of genome sequencing, spurred on by the Human Genome Project, makes production of this data a bargain by any estimate."

Over the next three years, the five centers in NHGRI's Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network will use high-throughput, robotic technologies to sequence a strategic set of animal genomes totaling as much as 54 billion base pairs, or the equivalent of 18 human genomes. For fiscal year (FY) 2004, NHGRI has earmarked $163 million for the sequencing centers, which were selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed process. The centers will be operated under cooperative agreements in which substantial programmatic involvement is anticipated among NHGRI and the recipients during performance of the scientific activities. Funding levels for FY 2005 and 2006 are planned to be $163 million and $133 million respectively.

The NHGRI-supported, large-scale sequencing centers, their principal investigators and their approximate FY 2004 fundi
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-02-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
7-Nov-2003


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